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What Is Email-based Deployment?

During email-based deployment, a network administrator specifies uniform resource locator (URL) parameters in a deployment email to configure deployment information on the controller client and then sends the deployment email to a specified deployment mailbox. A deployment engineer then receives the deployment email and clicks the URL in the email to start the deployment process. Subsequently, devices automatically complete the deployment.

Why Do We Need Email-based Deployment?

In traditional deployment mode, deployment personnel need to connect cables, configure devices, and check various entries onsite to ensure correct device deployment. Therefore, professional engineers need to deploy devices onsite.

With the development of network technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud computing, more and more enterprise networks and carrier networks use cloud-based management. If the traditional deployment mode is used to deploy a large number of sites, the following problems occur, such as slow manual configuration, potential configuration errors, high deployment costs, and long deployment period. To solve these problems, email-based deployment comes into being. Email-based deployment has the following advantages:

  • Provides unified configuration for ZTP through a controller, improving the deployment efficiency and facilitating large-scale site deployment.
  • Uses URL parameters for deployment configuration, simplifying the deployment process and implementing one-click deployment.
  • Transmits deployment information through emails and requires only simple operations on the web UI, removing the need for professional deployment engineers and greatly reducing labor and time costs.
  • Supports a variety of deployment terminals (including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs) and wireless as well as wired access modes. This ensures flexible deployment terminal selection and simple operations.

How Does Email-based Deployment Work?

Before introducing how email-based deployment works, let's look at the two roles involved in email-based deployment:

  • Network administrator: plans network deployment, maintains the network, and configures and sends a deployment email. The email must contain the URL used to activate the deployment process. For details, see URL. It is recommended that the email contain operation instructions for deployment engineers.
  • Deployment engineer (network installation or maintenance engineer): connects a deployment terminal to a device onsite after confirming that the deployment email has been received to perform email-based deployment onsite. Email-based deployment can be completed by onsite network installation or maintenance engineers, eliminating the need of onsite deployment by professional network engineers.

Before the deployment, prepare the following tools:

  • A deployment terminal (smartphone, tablet, or PC): used by deployment engineers to receive a deployment email and then connected to a customer-premises equipment (CPE) for deployment.
  • (Optional) Network cable: If the deployment terminal is a PC, use a network cable to connect the PC to a CPE.
Email-based deployment process
Email-based deployment process

As shown in the preceding figure, the email-based deployment process consists of the following steps:

  1. A network administrator configures and sends a deployment email.

    1. The network administrator logs in to the controller to configure a deployment email and sends it to a specified mailbox.
    2. The network administrator enters the device's ESN on the controller.

  2. The network installation or maintenance engineer receives the deployment email.

    The network installation or maintenance engineer logs in to the mailbox and confirms that the deployment email has been received.

  3. The network installation or maintenance engineer performs email-based deployment.

    1. After the device has been installed and started, the network installation or maintenance engineer connects a deployment terminal to the device in wired or wireless mode and accesses the URL in the deployment email. The deployment terminal then sends the URL information to the device to start the deployment process.
    2. The device resolves the URL information and displays the deployment Portal page. The network installation or maintenance engineer confirms the deployment on the Portal page. Then the device automatically completes configurations (including interface, network access, and VPN configurations) based on the URL parameters.

  4. The device automatically connects to the Internet and registers with the controller.

    1. After the device completes configurations, it is automatically connected to the Internet based on the configured network access mode in the URL parameters. Email-based deployment supports three network access modes: DHCP, Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) dial-up, and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) dial-up. If the device is connected to the Internet using a cellular interface, LTE dial-up must be used.
    2. After the device is connected to the Internet, if the link_url parameter is specified in the URL parameters, the Portal page specified by this parameter for device authentication is displayed on the deployment terminal.
    3. The device initiates registration with the controller based on the controller's IP address and port number in the URL. If the registration succeeds, the deployment process ends. Otherwise, the device starts the automatic registration mechanism to initiate the registration with the controller again after the registration failure is rectified.

Application of Email-based Deployment in SD-WAN Scenarios

In the SD-WAN Solution, CPEs can be connected to the WAN through email-based deployment and registered with and go online on iMaster NCE-WAN. For details about email-based deployment in SD-WAN scenarios, watch the following video:

About This Topic
  • Author: Tang Dandan
  • Updated on: 2021-09-30
  • Views: 3577
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